STYLE: Hymnody RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 9012-8742 LABEL: Kingsway KMCD2476 FORMAT: CD Album RRP: £2.50
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
How many albums of old hymns do you think Cross Rhythms has reviewed down the years? It runs to hundreds. So I approached this project with a certain suppressed boredom wondering whether we were going to get a bland choral effort or a cheap-and-cheerful programmed attempt at contemporisation. How wrong I was! Everything about this project is quality. For a start the hymns have been artfully chosen, bristling with words of poetic elegance and featuring doctrine-filled lyrics that would make many of our modern worship choruses sound lightweight by comparison. Gems abound, from the wistfully beautiful Isaac Watts and John Hatton hymn “Jesus Shall Reign” through to the soaring William Kirkpatrick/Louisa Stead evergreen “Oh How Sweet To Trust You Jesus” and even Stuart Townend’s contemporary classic “How Deep The Father’s Love”. Secondly, the lead vocal duties aren’t handed out to anonymous session singers or bored-sounding CCM stars doing a hymn thing, but are given to a seasoned worship leader, Robert Critchley, best known for his work with the Toronto Airport Church when that fellowship was at the epicentre that took a Blessing around the world. Thirdly, producer John Hartley, known to America’s CCM community as “the three-time Dove Award winner” but to ageing British Christian music buffs as half of the greatly missed Phil & John weighs in with a fine production. With some hand picked musos, John crafts arrangements which are contemporary but still reverential. If you want to discover the riches of Christian music past or feel your soul stirred by the beauty of contemporary hymnody (like Robert and Dawn Critchley’s “Lord I Come Before Your Throne Of Grace” – otherwise known as “What A Faithful God”), this is a wonderful place to start.
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